Bows and lake

We met at Bear creek park to shoot bows and arrows.

I think Grace needs a different bow.

After shooting for awhile we headed over to the lake to swim. A friend was in from CA so we got to catch up with her. The lake was full of algae, which is surprising since Chatfield is so clear right now.

I went in for a dip to cool off and when we got home our swim suits were full of green algae, yuck, we smelled like a science experiment. Clear creek might be colder, but at least it’s not full of algae.

River clean-up

Hannah was reading about the Greek gods today in literature, that is going to make some great notebooking pages. I think she already knows her spelling words, it didn’t take her long to type them out today. I can’t say enough about relaxing about when your kids will read (and spell.) If I had pushed her, it would have been bad for both of us. When the reading clicked, the spelling didn’t, but I knew that the more she read the better she would spell. I still pull words from books she’s reading for spelling, but she also has a list of words from the K12 curriculum. Grace did her vocabulary and then write out a short essay on why the Vaquita should be saved. She’e entering an art contest from STW about the Vaquita and there has to be an essay to go with it. There are two because she had two ideas that were different for the picture.

This one is done like a mystery novel cover with case files at the bottom.

After lunch we headed to the Platte river at Grant Frontier park for my co-op. We spent about 30 minutes picking up trash and then played in the river.

It never ceases to amaze me how much trash gets piled up by the river (especially in this one spot.)

I mean, how hard is it to walk up to the trash can? All it takes is a bit of rain upstream and the river will spill over, grab that trash and transport it downstream, yuck.

Grace found a torn duffel bag and a knife among the trash, then when O fund a shovel Grace said that there were all the elements for getting rid of someone and hiding a body.

S and O thought, no, the shovel is for digging for gold.

The kids had fun in the water picking up clams and rocks and tubing.

It started to drizzle, but we were in the water anyway, so who cares if you get a little wetter. Finally, the air got too cold and we headed home.

Tomorrow it’s park day at a new park for the month, Bear creek. Hopefully it will be sunny for at least part of the day.

Pine lake

Went to a hiking/fishing/swimming co-op at Pine lake today. Just as we turned into the park we saw a deer with two speckled fawns.

The day was gorgeous, but the cirrus clouds gave away the fact that the weather was going to change at some point.

We didn’t swim because the river was too fast (I know it doesn’t look fast and high right there, but it was fast and even when not high it was too full of rocks.)

Our shelter was also home to mud swallows, the fledglings were sitting on the roof keeping the bugs at bay.

Those who had poles started fishing.

Those who didn’t started hiking and Grace spotted the big find of the day, a juvenile bald eagle.

The cormorants were fishing on the other side of the lake, if I were a fish…I’d stay in the middle.

There were lots of wildflowers and berries!

We ate currants, raspberries and tons of gooseberries. Our fingers were a bit stained. I know it’s mathematically impossible, but it seemed that if I picked 3 berries the girls at 4, which would give me -1 berries, but I swear the more I picked the more they ate. Hannah found mushrooms, maybe they are the Jack O’Lantern kind?

At any rate, we don’t eat wild mushrooms – too much room for error. I went behind the eagle to get a few more pics of it, he sat on the first tree for about an hour, then flew to the second tree and was still sitting there when we left.

Annalivia said she was catching some fish, but wanted hot dogs to eat.

The cormorant family, the babies are sitting in the foreground.

We had hot dogs, sodas and chips for lunch, we never did catch a fish (but we did catch a baby duck!) We heard the thunderstorm and saw it moving over the valley, the ranger came by and told us to clear out in about 30 min. or we’d be stuck in the shelter while the rain, hail and lightning passed right over us. So, we all packed up and left. It was so cool to see that eagle and all of the other flowers and fauna.

Fun Friday

We met up with friends at Roxborough park for a wildflower hike co-op.

Rox is nice because no matter where you hike there, you can see the red rocks.

We did find some flowers as we hiked. Goatsbeard, which I didn’t get a picture of, was blooming everywhere. It produces giant dandelion-like puffballs. I also didn’t get a picture of white fairy trumpets or scouring rush (and those were pretty cool, with bamboo-like stems.) But, I did get a few pictures of yellow star flowers.

Parry harebells.

And Lupine.

That was a nice hike.

We got home and gave Maisy a bath, cleaned up some more and in general got the house ready for my Mom. We’re having green chile pork stew and rice for dinner with an appetizer of goat cheese stuffed peppers.

Thoughtful Thursday

I guess we should have written letters in the morning, but Hannah and Grace had a hard night (upset tummies – too much cake.) So we saved it for the afternoon. That was our ‘thoughtful’ part of the day. Bethany met with 3 other girls for her fan fiction co-op, they sat in a coffee shop for 2 hours and hashed out stories, plots, names of characters and had fun talking about their writing. One thing that we found that is helpful for writing is a thesaurus, but sometimes you don’t have a book or computer with you and that’s when a synonym wheel (or antonym wheel) can come in handy. We found this one and we made one to fill out with our own words. I love the paint chip one, Hannah will be doing that for sure.

synonym flower
(Source)

Hannah was supposed to make dinner last night, but we went out, so she’s making dinner tonight. It’s corkscrew pasta soup, cheesy garlic bread and salad. She cut the onions and garlic, made the broth, added the tomato sauce and stirred it up, then let it simmer while the cheese bread was cooking.

We have a hike in the morning, then some cleaning to do and dinner to make before my Mom comes in.

ESI

Today’s co-op was threatened by rain and snow, but it stopped just as we headed to the outdoor portion of the class at Lookout mountain (ecosystems.) First the kids sat in the classroom and talked about living and non-living things and what living things need. Then a few brave kids got to come up and put on ecosystem/food chain hats. The sun gives energy to the plants who feed the squirrel who is eaten by the fox who is then eaten by the mountain lion who is then decomposed by fungi (after he dies.)

It was a cute way to show a food chain and see what happens when one part is interrupted. Then we grabbed coats and went outside for a hike. We stopped on the trail and played a game where we wrote down everything that was in the area to eat. Some of the things on the list were: yucca root, pine needle tea, stone soup, insects, fried spiders, pine nuts, pine cone soup and sap. Yeah, some of those are not going to taste great and I’m not sure you’d want to eat a pine cone. Then our guide had the kids become trees, they couldn’t move from their spot.

He threw colored tokens at them that represented sunlight, water and soil.

Now, if you had sunlight that was great, but if you didn’t get a water token, the sun isn’t going to do much good.

If you had soil and water, but no sun, that wasn’t good either. It made the point that trees get what they get (and don’t throw a fit.) The ponderosa pines in the area have tap roots as deep as the tree is tall, this helps them get water and withstand the wind up here. A tree that doesn’t have a long root might not fare as well up here.

Next we climbed up to the stone gazebo and talked about decomposers.

Then the kids were let loose with magnifying glasses to see tiny things.

I took some flower pictures.

Our last station was inside the nature center, we had 5 skulls and had to determine if they were carnivore, omnivore or herbivore and what animal they belonged to.

With the rhyme – Eyes in front, made to hunt. Eyes on side, made to hide, told to us, it was pretty easy to figure out if the skull was a predator or prey. Next we looked at the teeth to determine what it ate. We thought skull 1 was a mountain lion, but it was a bear. Skull 5 we thought was a beaver, but it was a porcupine – we got the others right.

That was a fun co-op and the weather turned out to be just right.

Bluff lake

We found out this morning that Grace’s fish art won 2nd place for CO.

That was a cool thing to start the morning with. We did school, ate lunch and headed to Bluff lake for my geocache co-op. My GPS was worthless, so others tried their GPS app on their smart phone, which worked too well. We found caches, but not the ones the park hid for the bird hike.

So, we ended up just walking around the lake and looking at the birds.

We passed by the prairie dog town and the dogs were on high alert because a hawk was cruising for a snack.

We saw some pretty flowers, a kestrel, ducks, blackbirds, robins, egrets and hawks.

We found quite a few nests, this one was empty.

We’ll have to find a GPS app and go back and look for the caches we didn’t find, still it was a nice hike. It started off cloudy, then sunny, then a thunderstorm rolled in just as we were leaving.

I’m making sweet potato chorizo lasagna for dinner. Here is the recipe, it looks good.

Sweet Potato-Chorizo Lasagna

4 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs.)
1 1/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 7 1/2 ounce links uncooked chorizo sausage
12 dried lasagna noodles*
Olive oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
6 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. For sweet potato sauce, place sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 1 hour or until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from oven; cool. Peel; discard skin. Transfer to a food processor. Add milk, lime juice, and cumin. Cover; process until smooth. Set aside.

In a large skillet, break up chorizo with a wooden spoon and cook over medium heat about 5 minutes or until cooked through (160 degrees F). Remove from heat. Drain fat; set chorizo aside.

Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions or until tender, but still firm (al dente). Drain; rinse with cold water. Drain well.

Drizzle bottom of a 3-qt. rectangular baking dish with olive oil. Arrange 3 noodles in a single layer atop oil. Spread with one-fourth of the sweet potato mixture. Spoon with one-fourth of the chorizo over sweet potato mixture. Sprinkle with one-fourth of the green onion and cilantro. Top with one-fourth of the cheese. Repeat layers. Cover with a piece of parchment brushed with olive oil, coated side down; seal tightly with foil.

Bake 40 minutes. Uncover; bake 5 minutes more or until cheese is golden brown and mixture is bubbly. Let stand 20 minutes before serving.

MLP

So, what does a Brony and Pegasister and Everypony do at a My Little Pony co-op? They make glass magnets with cutie marks and pretty ponies.

They sing-a-long to MLP songs.

They wear MLP shirts.

They drink tea and eat pony food (apples, carrots and tomatoes) and have cupcakes and pony cookies.

They bring MLP trinkets and stuffies to look at.

And, of course, they play pin the tail on the pony (ouch!)

We rounded out the party with trivia, a funny MLP mad-lib and face painting.

That was fun!

And the poem prompt for the day was:

25. Think of a popular ad slogan and work that into a poem. Try to use the phrase in a totally different way (for instance, making “good to the last drop” be about tears).

We used this site to look at some slogans. (Really? Google’s slogan is Don’t be evil?)

Get N or get out!
Come play:
ghost in the graveyard,
tag,
wax museum,
four square,
dodgeball,
volleyball,
or go home
and play a video game.
-H
(Nintendo, Get N or get out.)

I am what I am
I do what I want to do
I can run
and hide
and jump
and play
and you can’t say
anything
because I am what I am.
-G
(Reebok, I am what I am.)

Beauty is not defined
by our looks,
and can result in a beast inside
if we don’t dig
deep enough to find
the truth.
-B
(Mac Pro, Beauty outside. Beast inside.)

When there is no tomorrow,
what do you do today?
Do you spend one more minute
reading e-mails
or spend one more minute
talking to a friend?
When there is no tomorrow
do you stop and smell the flowers,
and try to stop the hours?
Do you read that book,
and savor what you’ve cooked?
Do you give one last hug,
and feel your heart tug?
What do you do,
when there is no tomorrow?
-L
(FedEx, When there is no tomorrow.)

Ft. Collins museum of discovery

Since we were up so early we stopped by the library to waste some time before heading to the museum, but they were closed. So, we went to a park. Hannah played on the swings while the rest of us walked down to see the Cache la Poudre river.

When we walked back over to the playground, Hannah was screaming bloody murder. She had tried to fit into the baby swing, you know, the one with the leg holes…and she was stuck. We pushed and pulled, but she was stuck good. The plastic was cutting off the circulation to her legs they were crammed in there so tight. I was thinking that we would have to call the fire department to come cut her out, so I tried to think of something that would make her legs slippery enough to get out of the swing. Thank goodness I had hand sanitizer in the car. We slathered it all over her legs and I pushed on her feet while Bethany pulled from the top and Hannah popped right out. It’s one of those stories that I will tell her children, the time your Mama got stuck in a baby swing. She was fine but had bruises on the top of her legs from where we had pushed and pulled against the plastic…needless to say she is never going to try that again (well, never say never, but I’m pretty sure she won’t…)

The reason we were camping was so we could wake up and already be in Ft. Collins for a co-op at the science museum.

I have wanted to go to this museum for awhile, but we just haven’t.

Now that we’ve been, we’re going back for sure. It was awesome. We watched a digital dome movie about prehistoric sea monsters and then got to tour the museum.

Want to lift a piano? They have a lever set up and you can try pulling the rope to lift the piano by placing the rope at different points on the lever.

There were musical instruments to play, a sound booth where you could jam on a piano, guitar or drums alone or together.

There were crazy experiments like biting on a straw that was attached to a metal pole to hear music through your teeth.

The tornado chamber was a hit with Hannah.

Grace liked the mesmerizing metal disks that flowed like water in the air movement experiment.

I liked the digital music maker.

We played around and explored things like: building a trumpet and trying to play it, learning about beavers and dams, learning about kinetic energy, doing a ping-pong maze, watching water pulse with tones and more.

We stopped to eat lunch and then went back into the museum to play with friends.

That was a great co-op, we will be coming back to play there and swim in the river this summer.

Thursday

The prompt yesterday was hard: 16. Write a poem that includes the words other, mother, smother and/or cover at least 10 times (any of the words or all). Feel free to add other words and phrases that sound similar (such as brother and of her).

The mother
called every other
otter.
The brother came
running in
chasing every other
otter.
-H

My mother
called my little brother
as he tried to hover.
-G

My other
mother
has a child
that is my
half-brother.
My father
smothers
him with gifts.
-B

Why do you never say
Oh, Mother!
It’s only
Oh, Brother!
Does it bother
anyone else?
I wonder
if every other
person
thinks we should
offer
Mother
an Oh!
every now and then too.
-L

Today’s was better: 17. Write a poem as an elderly version of yourself looking back on these years. I love that Hannah’s ‘older self’ is 10!

This is from your ten year old self:
Spend more time dancing,
because it makes you happy.
Spend more time drumming,
because it makes you feel good.
And also,
math gets harder.
-H

Be sure to say thanks.
Thanks for taking me to a whale movie,
thanks for taking me to
Making Waves to meet
Mr. Cousteau,
and driving me to the river.
Also, that trip I took,
that mentor I met,
it was the best day ever,
so, say thanks.
-G

You thought
that you couldn’t
do this,
but I have already done it.
Do not underestimate
yourself.
-B

I often wondered then
was it worth it?
Looking back now,
I say yes.
It was good to say
today we are going on a road trip,
today we are doing school
in a museum,
today we are reading a book under the
canopy of a tree,
today we are making a memory.
It was good to make learning
happen early and spend afternoons
lazing by the river, watching the ducks float by.
It was good to say that school could be
an IMAX movie about whales,
or cleaning up a river,
or dancing with the Moscow ballet,
or flying a plane.
Those moments, they will stick around
forever.
So, to myself I say yes,
it was worth it.
-L

Today we did some school and then went to the library for my art co-op. I didn’t take my camera, which is too bad because there were some great pieces being created. We were making mosaics, but in reverse. We started with a shape, crumpled it, smoothed it out, colored it, then ripped (or cut) the shape and glued it onto construction paper. The kids could crumple the paper to make lines that they then traced over and colored, or the could just draw lines and color, or just color without lines. They could cut or rip the paper and assemble it back into the shape, or not. It was just an hour and a half of creative art, make what you want. The Moms got to make some art too, which is always nice.

Bethany is making art too, today she used sparkle (I didn’t realize it was sparkle) Mod podge to glue pages from a dictionary to a frame back. She’s almost done with her zentangle hands that go on top of the paper and there are letters we stamped with the die-cut machine at RAFT that spell out ‘you are more’. The art is for CORE’s WOW show and it’s a collage based on a song and kind of inspired by Barbara Kruger (whom she found out about during her art class.) I think it will look really cool when she’s done, I’ll take a picture of it then.